Monday, February 07, 2005

Everybody Hates Political Correctness

There are certain things you can count on people hating: lawyers, cell phone users, the New York Yankees. And it seems that political correctness falls into that camp. I've seen countless people, both on the Left and Right, deride PC. Considering that PC is a Leftist concept, this seemed a little odd to me.

The secret is that the Left and the Right simply have different definitions for political correctness. For the Right, political correctness is the complete surrender of free speech in favor of Leftist ideology. To the Left, as demonstrated in this Slashdot post from a story on investigation techniques for child molestation and pornography, PC means traditional Judeo-Christian morality (emphasis added):
one of the best ways people deal with troubling subjects is to joke about them. It allows for a relaxation that can lead to a more serious discussion about a topic, uncrippled by the uptight PCness that society now uses. While yes, this is, in fact, a very serious topic, the jokes allow for us to move out of the depressing stage of our thinking and into a more serious discussion of the potential of this new technology. Try not to have a knee-jerk reaction to the jokes and look at the (perhaps subconscious) motives behind them. Just my opinion.
People were joking about how to get the original and unedited photographs of child porn. Someone thought that was disgusting and this fine specimen decided that such a concern was merely "the uptight PCness that society now uses." So people would not have found such jokes disappointing 150 years ago? It's only in these late lamented days that people are put off by jokes about raping 9 year olds? It was a "knee-jerk reaction"?

It has been suggested that Liberalism (or Progressivism) is simply another religion with its own morality and purpose. If so, the term political correctness could be used to mean the exercise of moral judgement. And no matter what, you can find someone who hates your moral judgement.

There are other phenomena in the arena of political discourse that work in a similar fashion. It's easy to find people on both Left and Right that think the media is biased against them for totally different reasons. The Right thinks media is biased because of the content (or lack of content) and the presentation. The Left thinks media is biased because media outlets are owned by large business concerns and, as everyone knows, all large business concerns are firmly in the grip of the Right. Not to mention that the media doesn't necessarily report every bizarre far-flung conspiracy theory the Left can create.